How We Save (and Spend) Now

Americans have suddenly become savers – but still spend in surprising ways. We look at the new profile of how we save, spend and splurge.

Shoppers stroll through Sawgrass Mills Mall during the first day of the back-to-school sales tax holiday, Aug. 13, 2010 in Sunrise, Fla. (AP)

American saving and spending are all over the place these days.

In Biwabik, Minnesota, Alice Splawn and her husband lost two thirds of their income when he lost his job.  Now she sews her own clothes and hunts deer for dinner. Meanwhile, sales at pricey Starbucks, Apple and Mercedes Benz are rocking.

Overall, Americans are definitely saving more – from necessity or fear.  But there is glossy spending out there, too – and sometimes from the same families trying to save. 

It’s a new, mixed-up world of consumption and constraint — the new saving and spending in America.

-Tom Ashbrook


Devin Leonard, staff writer for Bloomberg Businessweek. His recent cover story for Businessweek is The New Abnormal.

Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for the NPD Group. He’s author of “Buy Me! New Ways to Get Customers to Choose Your Product and Ignore the Rest.”

Christine Moorman, professor of business administration at Duke University.

John Quelch, professor of business administration at Harvard University. Watch a video of Quelch talking about consumer behavior in this recession.

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